Blind Spot - Katana Collins

Chapter One


My entire life—all twenty-one years—can fit in sixteen boxes. Putting the car into park, I looked over my shoulder into the backseat at the meticulously stacked brown rectangles. The half of the car I packed was thoughtfully arranged from large to small, with the boxes marked “fragile” placed on the top. My best friend Reagan’s side was jammed in like a failed Tetris game. Not that I really cared. What was really going to break? A five-dollar picture frame I got from Target? The most valuable thing I owned wasn’t packed inside a box, but the car that contained everything—my mom’s 1969 MG Midget.

Reagan bounced in the passenger seat beside me, clapping her hands. “Dude, you’ve got to chill out,” I told her. “You’re like a freaking jackrabbit on speed over there.”

“And you’re acting like a sloth. How are you not more excited about this?” She flashed me a big, toothy grin.

I was excited. Even if I didn’t wear my emotions on my sleeve like Reagan, that didn’t mean I wasn’t feeling them. Getting out of the car, I looked up at 148 Congress Ave—a beautiful, modern building that stood tallest of any residential complex in Charleston. Reagan wobbled out of the passenger seat, teetering in heels and a fuchsia miniskirt. I raised an eyebrow in her direction. “I thought you said you’d have no problem moving boxes in that,” I said, grabbing a box out of my backseat and hoisting it onto my hip.

Her chin tilted centimeters higher. “I won’t have a problem. I might just be a little slower than you two. Anyway, not all of us are comfortable wearing a dirty T-shirt littered with churro crumbs.”

I looked down, and sure enough, the Nintendo logo was covered in crumbs and cinnamon sugar. Damn. I hated when she was right. “Um, excuse me, this is vintage,” I said, brushing the crumbs off the 80s T-shirt I had managed to grab at Goodwill a few years ago. It was my favorite, and the cotton was so buttery soft. Mm, butter.

Harrison slammed his driver’s side door before giving a whistle, looking up at my new building. The truck bed was filled with what few pieces of furniture I had acquired in the last few years. Thank God for friends with trucks, right? “Pretty nice looking,” he said. “More than a step up from being a resident advisor over at the dorms, huh?”

“Yeah.” And it only took me three years, four jobs, and endless persistence to get the place, since I wasn’t exactly a prime candidate to most landlords. A parentless girl up to her neck in student loans? Yeah, doesn’t really instill much confidence.

Reagan grabbed a couple of boxes as well. “Let’s get this over with. I was promised pizza.”

Moving sucks. Usually. But this time? I would finally be in my own apartment—a place where freshman wouldn’t come knocking every time a roommate ate their yogurt. One where drunken eighteen-year-olds wouldn’t lock themselves out and come crying to me at four in the morning. It was mine.

I’d been saving for years and had enough in my account for a year’s worth of rent and then some. I managed to get the smallest, cheapest apartment in the building—size didn’t matter to me. I know that all women say that, but I actually meant it. At least, when it came to apartments, I did. For all I cared, this place barely needed a kitchen. As long as it had the keypad lock and the twenty-four-hour doorman, I was set. Luxury was for suckers. But security? Safety? That was key.

Holy shit. I had a doorman. Me. For years, the closest thing I had to a doorman was the mouse that lived in my closet, and my “security system” was the bat I kept next to my door. While standing there, unmoving, frozen like an idiot, I made eye contact with the doorman through the floor to ceiling windows in the lobby. Though he was dressed professionally in business attire, his messy blond hair, blue eyes, and tanned complexion implied that he spent more days at the beach than sitting inside at a desk. His full lips turned up into a welcoming smile.

He rushed for the door, directly toward me. I knew he was just coming to open the door for me. I knew my friends were right there, and that it was broad daylight. And yet, even with logic and rationale on my side, that familiar panic of a strange man charging at me